21st Sep, 2021

Housing issues dominate this week's bumper Coventry Observer letters page

Coventry Editorial 27th May, 2021

We need more trees in Coventry but we’ve lost a ‘small forest’s worth’

Since the adoption of the Coventry and Warwick District Local Plans in 2017, major developments have been approved in Eastern Green, Keresley, Westwood Heath, Burton Green, Whitley, Finham and Stoke that will result in the removal of a significant number of trees and hedgerows.

This is all at a time when we are in the midst of a climate change crisis and a pandemic.

· We need trees for the very air we breathe.

· Trees absorb carbon dioxide which in turn gives off oxygen.

· Trees clean the air by removing gaseous pollutants through absorption.

· Trees prevent flooding and clean our water.

· Trees gives us shade from the sun’s harmful rays.

· Trees and hedges provide homes for our precious wildlife.

· Trees add value to our homes as well as to our city.

We must be aware of the advance of the concrete jungle and protect the ‘green lungs’ that make our towns and cities more pleasant and healthier places to live.

Green belt land has acted as a vital ‘green lung’ around our city and the removal of such a significant amount of trees will inevitably have an extremely negative impact on the lives of our citizens.

At a time when our poor air quality has been acknowledged globally, leading to significant poor health levels and premature and avoidable deaths, it is concerning protection and preserving our local greenery and wildlife is not a priority for the Coventry decision-makers.

The removal of valuable trees and hedgerows assembled as a virtual mass would equate to the removal of a small forest from Coventry – adversely impacting on air quality – and open spaces which proved so important for our wellbeing during the pandemic.

It is concerning planners and local politicians advise that biodiversity money is banked from developers and new trees will be planted – they will take between 30 and 50 years to mature and become effective at absorbing air pollutants. Once open spaces are lost, they are lost forever.

Coventry Tree Wardens wholeheartedly agreed our planners did not care enough about trees and clearly did not understand their huge significance in helping prevent Climate Change.

Not only are they allowing trees to be felled on virtually every development, including in the city centre where green environment is so very important, but much of the felled timber is being sent for biomass production, which pumps carbon – which trees were storing – back into the air.

Green belt supporters are absolutely right – as much as a small forest has already been lost and burnt and, unless we do something to save trees now, it will be a giant one.

Peter Maddock

KOGG

 

Green belt consultation is ‘just tokenism’

HISTORY of need distorted by student numbers included in ONS figure – well known in

Coventry by people bordering green belt.

City centre taken over by student accommodation.

Shoppers prefer local centres around Coventry not shopping in centre of Coventry.

This will exacerbate with closure of Debenhams,

Development in Eastern Green, Allesley and Keresley offers easy access to Solihull and Nuneaton avoiding poor resources in Coventry centre.

Loss of old Arden landscape and wildlife habitat promotes real anger in residents.

Labour politicians distrusted and disregarded, and do not represent local views.

Consultation on green belt considered tokenism.

Housing figures disbelieved.

Not much evidence if social housing being built – green belt land used for high end housing while cheaper accommodation is used for students.

In general deep distrust of Labour Party in Coventry.

Dorothy Hall

 

We need the true facts before we start building

FUNNY how the party politics seem to dominate when simply reviewing the population statistics and correctly interpreting them might get the 14,000 housing applications into a realistic number.

Many of those people are on other local lists of applicants, not to mention the student numbers – it’s clear the national statistic is overstated as is the local one.

This then imposes much higher overstated housing demand all over the West Midlands. Not just Coventry!

When will the authorities get the numbers right?

300,000 houses to build each year is laughable – there is not the capacity or resources.

Just dig a bit deeper to get the right FACTS.

David Roberts

 

City awash with student villages after university pandering

OUR biggest problem in Coventry is that we have in a way spent more time pandering to the needs of Warwick University and lately Coventry University. Canley has been turned into a student village with house prices going through the roof, this means that the first time buyers in the area have no real chance of getting onto the property ladder.

Older ex-council houses are sold on and then turned into HMOs, new estates like the ones on Prior Derham are not sold onto locals due to the prices but to investors who then rent them out to students.

If the new houses we are planning are to be part of the solution, then stop allowing investors to buy up the new builds, any social housing being built as part of a previously agreed quota should be subject to increase.

Terry Smith

 

Affordable housing levels questionable and insufficient jobs

I WRITE as a resident of Keresley where they plan to build 3,200 houses on former green belt land.

Applications so far put forward for a total of 2,334 houses do not include any single storey housing or sheltered accommodation – 23 per cent of the UK population is aged over 60 years of age.

They state 25 per cent of these properties will be affordable housing, this statement is not clearly defined – some of these houses will be shared ownership or rented properties. No mention of rents available below market value. Shared ownership is a very contentious subject involving leases, not being allowed to make changes to the property or no active role if you wish to sell.

The first phase of the Wimpey development on Tamworth Road is under way, the cheapest price for a house on the website is £370,000. Clearly beyond the reach of most people. Building on former green belt land is a green light for developers to market premium priced housing.

No employment opportunities in the area other than Prologis and Amazon, primarily warehousing work. Unfortunately with salaries not sufficient to secure a house in the area.

There will be job opportunities in Coventry – the proposed Gigafactory – the furthest most point from Keresley.

The councils to commit to review its housing without delay. Already student accommodation is being transferred to the private sector. Numerous houses previously let to students are still available after two years standing empty.

Brownfield sites are readily available for housing, City Centre South, Abbotts Lane, Banner Lane, Holbrooks Lane, Whitley Pumping Station, Henley College, Paragon Park development still not completed and many more. This constitutes several thousand potential new properties, all of which will be closer to travel links and not be car dependent.

There is a lesson to be learnt – Ireland got carried away with a building programme resulting in the building industry being bailed out by the Government for billions of Euros, the existing housing stock de-valued by 30 per cent. Similarly in Southern Spain where the evidence is still to be seen – skeleton buildings with rusted cranes still on site, they went into recession and town hall officers were prosecuted!

Ann Evans

 

Council should use its base to provide much-needed homes

THE COUNCIL makes me laugh – just look at the size of that council house they could rent out some of them rooms if they’re that worried about people.

We have never had enough houses in Coventry for people, it’s all sold off for builders to build private homes for profit – it doesn’t matter about the people born and bred in Coventry.

It’s about time the council started helping and finding homes for people mainly with young children

I know a family with five children in a three-bedroomed house, the parents are sleeping downstairs – it’s terrible.

So come on council after all we all pay enough council tax.

I’m sick of seeing houses around Coventry new builds for sale, not cheap either.

Stop selling, build houses for people to rent for families.

Is it going to happen? No way will it.

At least its off my chest

Mandy Ward

 

Homes influx to exacerbate city’s already illegal air pollution levels

WE LIVE our lives around making properties each day.

Coventry City Council is the same.

There is a need for housing but should this come at the lives of people especially children IF there was another way?

I have listed facts and studies on NO2 poisoning on the Save our Air Coventry Facebook page which back up the points below.

1. Coventry has historically had record levels which due to routes will cause air pollution to increase. Levels have been almost double the legal limits set by WHO. Coventry is still over the Government’s legal limits and has a legal responsibility to reduce levels asap.

2. Every time the planning committee members approve an inner city development, NO2 levels increase. They have a legal obligation to stop this or action will be taken against individuals for professional negligence.

3. If these same developments were approved on the outskirts of the city (or as much as I hate to say it) on green belt, they save lives, literally. This is because traffic will go around the city instead of through it, lowering levels along main inner city routes.

4. NO2 causes illnesses as minor as headaches, lack of concentration to fatal illness such as cancer and heart failure. 40,000 to 60,000 die in the UK every year. The UK has the worst levels in the EU, the highest respiratory illnesses especially in babies and children in the EU.

The UK had record numbers of Covid deaths. Yes, it’s linked. Once in your body, particulate matter never leaves and is lodged in your tissue for life affecting your wellbeing and even causing blindness.

5. Our city will expand rapidly over the next 20 years. The main routes will have more traffic and higher NO2 levels and we haven’t even started on carbon dioxide poisoning from traffic – not often mentioned.

6. The talk and plans of a few electric vehicles for the council and cycle routes aimed at reducing levels are unrealistic. The £30million planned for this would be better spent on turning potential development sites into parks – the ‘lungs of our city’ – to create vital areas for residents.

Is the council going to put up warning signs along the new proposed cycle routes warning of the danger? Unlike Oxford or York, Coventry just don’t cycle.

My aim in raising awareness is to save lives and for us to build homes.

The richer people living in the outskirts will oppose this idea. The green belt lovers (like myself) will oppose this idea.

But can I ask readers – if a person held a knife to a loved ones throat, would you not do anything to save them?

It’s a question of properties.

Steve Smith

 

EDITOR’S COMMENT

COVENTRY South MP Zarah Sultana’s ‘Green New Deal’ to ‘revitalise industries’ would be welcome and we heard a lot about ‘green jobs’ from the West Midlands mayoral candidates at the recent election.

Various city companies and universities have earmarked their plans for the planet and we are the UK’s first all-electric bus town.

All good but somewhat ad-hoc.

We need the council, employers, MPs, Metro Mayor and universities to get together and develop an overall ‘Green Vision for Coventry’ with clearly laid out targets and timescale.

 

We welcome your letters……

What pressing issues do you feel need addressing in Coventry? Send us your views to editor@coventryobserver.co.uk

 

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